Which is Better: Energy Drinks or Caffeine Pills?
Here it is: my Qualia Nootropic Energy vs. Performance Lab Stim comparison review, a match-up between two big-name brands that take vastly disparate approaches to supercharging brainpower with nootropic-enhanced caffeine.
Essentially, Qualia Nootropic Energy is a superloaded energy drink.
Whereas Performance Lab Stim is a precision-designed “Caffeine 2.0” pill.
But which earns the Nootropic Geek seal of approval?? Let’s read to find out!
Energy drinks or caffeine pills — which do you prefer? Really, both forms of delivery are effective, convenient options for on-the-go energy. However, it’s the contents of these energy drinks and caffeine pills that really matter here. Let’s check out the ingredients.
Qualia Nootropic Energy vs. Performance Lab Stim: Ingredients
Qualia Nootropic Energy Supplement Facts
Performance Lab Stim Supplement Facts
Qualia Nootropic Energy: The Overachieving Energy Drink
Like the other Qualia nootropic stacks, Qualia Nootropic Energy is an impressive nootropic stack packed with impressively high quality ingredients that tries to do too much. And this is despite Qualia Nootropic Energy’s advertised distinction as an “energy booster.”
Qualia Nootropic Energy absolutely is an energy booster, and a very unique one at that. Deriving its stimulatory “energy” from Coffeeberry®, a patented, natural coffee extract that supplies a modest 90 mg caffeine per serving, Qualia Nootropic Energy avoids synthetic stimulants and processed sugars to provide a healthier, natural caffeine experience.
And with L-theanine and N-acetyl L-tyrosine, two caffeine-balancing amino acids, Qualia Nootropic Energy helps reduce the jittery, brain-draining side effects typically associated with caffeine.
However, Qualia Nootropic Energy doesn’t stop there, providing an eclectic mix of cholinergic nootropics and herbal extracts — and more — that benefit brain health and power via distinct brain bio-pathways. Which is all great, except that (as you’ll see below) this needlessly jacks up this supplement’s price.
It’s a puzzling formula design that I’ve come to expect with Qualia supplements. All ingredients are healthy, natural, and effective for boosting brainpower. Yet, you don’t need all of them packed into a single formula. As such, Qualia Nootropic Energy is an overachieving energy booster that fails by its own success.
Read my Qualia Nootropic Energy review here.
Performance Lab Stim: Caffeine 2.0 Pill
Compared to Qualia Nootropic Energy, Performance Lab Stim is a substantially simpler and more refined energy booster stack that matches Qualia Nootropic Energy in terms of quality, yet outperforms its competition in terms of quantity.
By that I mean that Performance Lab Stim supplies a smart selection of a few nootropics (L-theanine, L-tyrosine, B-vitamins) paired with a modest dose of natural caffeine, allowing for a more cost efficient energy boost that’s also significantly more “scalable” — i.e., you can take one pill or two pills or even three pills, as needed.
With that in mind, Performance Lab Stim is a genuine “caffeine pill” supplement, whereas Qualia Nootropic Energy is delivered as an energy drink. This means that Performance Lab Stim’s formula comes encapsulated with fewer additive requirements (which I’ll get into below), whereas Qualia Nootropic Energy requires additional flavors, sweeteners, etc. to make its liquid formula palatable. (Don’t worry, Qualia’s additives are all natural as well.)
Altogether, I prefer Performance Lab Stim’s formula design, as it offers a simple, yet powerful source of nootropic-enhanced caffeinated energy that’s that only “scalable” but also stackable with other nootropic supplements.
And as you’ll learn below, you could likely stack Performance Lab Stim with other nootropic supplements and still spend less money than you would have if you simply bought Qualia Nootropic Energy.
Read my Performance Lab Stim Review here.
The Performance Lab Brain Stack
To further emphasize my point about Performance Lab Stim’s “scalability” and “stackability,” the Performance Lab line of supplements seems specially designed with customization in mind. You may take Performance Lab Stim alone, or to maximize your brainpower, you may stack it with:
PERFORMANCE LAB MIND: a stim-free nootropic supplement uniquely crafted for daily brain health support and recovery from intense mental exertion. More on Performance Lab Mind.
PERFORMANCE LAB ENERGY: a stim-free energy booster stack powered by a potent mix of mitochondrial ATP energy boosting antioxidants. More on Performance Lab Energy.
PERFORMANCE LAB MCT: my favorite MCT oil, Performance Lab MCT supplies pure C8 + C10 MCT brain fuel sourced from 100% organic coconuts. More on Performance Lab MCT.
And many more. To learn more about all Performance Lab supplements, head to www.performancelab.com.
Both Qualia Nootropic Energy and Performance Lab Stim are entirely unique energy boosting formulas, despite their common interest in boosting brainpower with nootropic-enhanced caffeine. Though Qualia has many more ingredients relatively unique to its formula here, the most standout ingredients in its stack are:
Qualia Nootropic Energy
- nooLVL™: well-known as an eSports performance enhancer, nooLVL is a combination of arginine silicate and inositol that seems to work namely by boosting cerebral circulation for increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
- EnXtra® Alpinia Galanga Extract: an herbal extract believed to promote alertness and focus with or without caffeine, that may also help mitigate the post-energy crash withdrawal effects of caffeine.
- Coffeeberry® Caffeine: a “whole fruit” coffee bean extract that supplies a modest amount (90 mg) of caffeine, roughly the equivalent of an average 8 oz. cup of coffee. More on Caffeine.
- Cereboost™ American Ginseng Extract: a patented extract of ginseng, one of my favorite herbal nootropics for a general boost on “mental balance” (as I call it). By simultaneously energizing and relaxing the mind, ginseng is great for establishing a general sense of cognitive clarity and well-being. More on Ginseng.
- Energy Drink Formula Design: overall, the entire formula design of Qualia Nootropic Energy is uniquely constructed out of all-natural nootropics and all-natural additives for a truly healthier energy drink alternative.
Performance Lab Stim
- Suntheanine® L-Theanine: the best form of L-theanine, an amino acid sourced from green tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) that uniquely works by promoting alpha brain waves, the brain frequency state associated with calm, meditative thinking. Paired with caffeine, L-theanine sustains the stimulant’s focus-boosting effects while minimizing its jittery side effects. More on L-Theanine.
- Ajipure® L-Tyrosine: a pure, patented, eco-friendly form of L-tyrosine, the ultimate anti-stress amino acid that helps sustain cognitive performance under heightened conditions of stress, fatigue, and stimulation, thanks to this amino’s status as a precursor compound to catecholamine neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine). More on L-Tyrosine.
- NutriGenesis® B-Vitamin Complex: complexed with natural cofactors, such as probiotics, enzymes, and fibers, the NutriGenesis® B-vitamin complex supplies an easy-to-absorb mix of B2, B6, B9, and B12 vitamins to help combat the B-vitamin depletion associated with caffeine’s diuretic effect. More on B Vitamins.
- NutriCaps® Capsules: constructed out of fermented tapioca, or pullulan, Performance Lab® Stim’s NutriCaps® are the cleanest, greenest capsules money can buy — and, even better, they’re all-natural, vegan-friendly, eco-friendly, and easy on the gut, eliminating any gut health issues that tend to come with cheap capsules coated in artificial additives.
- Caffeine 2.0 Pill Formula Design: compared to Qualia Nootropic Energy’s “energy drink” formula design, Performance Lab Stim’s “caffeine 2.0 pill” design is much cleaner and easier to absorb, requiring virtually zero additives or sweeteners, whether natural or artificial.
Potency & Quality
Both Qualia Nootropic Energy and Performance Lab Stim demonstrate exceptional potency and quality both in terms of “ingredient quality” and “Other Ingredients quality” (i.e., additive quality). Both supplements offer:
- Potent, patented ingredients
- Bioavailable herbal extracts
- Plant-based forms of delivery
And an overall clean, green, healthy formula design. This even applies to both formulas’ choice of stimulant, which (for both) is naturally sourced caffeine.
None of that synthetic crap.
However, as I’ve already suggested a couple times, I prefer Performance Lab Stim’s clean, minimal, prebiotic-enhanced NutriCaps® capsules over Qualia Nootropic Energy’s naturally sweetened liquid format, simply because the NutriCaps design requires less additives in general to be deemed “palatable” as compared to Qualia Nootropic Energy’s formula.
In general, if you can do more with less, then do more with less.
Better known by the acronym of K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Value: Qualia Nootropic Energy vs. Performance Lab Stim
|Price||Servings||Price Per Serving|
|Qualia Nootropic Energy||$119||20||$5.95|
|Performance Lab Stim||$39||30||$1.30|
Whichever way you spin it, Performance Lab Stim is the more affordable option between these two energy boosters. In a comparison between their base prices alone (the prices listed above), Performance Lab Stim is more cost efficient in terms of overall price per bottle and price per serving.
However, when you buy 3 bottles of Performance Lab Stim, you get 1 bottle for free, drastically lowering the price per serving to $0.98. Conversely, if you opt for Qualia’s “Subscribe & Save” order option, Qualia Nootropic Energy lowers its price to $59.90… for the first shipment, after which the monthly price jumps to $99/month, which is still a hefty amount.
No doubt, $99 is better than $119; yet, the Qualia website rather disingenuously suggests that you’ll “Save 50%” when you opt for the “Subscribe & Save” option, even though that 50% only applies to the first month. (And 50% off of $119 for 20 servings is still more than double the “price per serving” cost of Performance Lab Stim.)
Qualia Nootropic Energy or Performance Lab Stim: Which is better?
Qualia Nootropic Energy is an impressive, yet overburdened (*overpriced) energy drink.
Better focus, attention, clarity, memory, and mood? Qualia Nootropic Energy certainly does all of that and more with its impressive collection of stimulatory caffeine, cholinergics, catecholaminergics, antioxidants, herbal extracts, and more. However, I still think Qualia would do better to reduce the price of their products by simplifying their formulas, allowing for greater degrees of “scalability” and “stackability,” as demonstrated by Performance Lab Stim.
All in all, Qualia Nootropic Energy is another impressive Qualia formula. But it’s also another Qualia formula, meaning that it’s also incredibly expensive and overstuffed with too many ingredients.
Performance Lab Stim is a simpler and more efficient brain booster.
With the rising emphasis on stim-free nootropics, workout supplements, energy boosters, and so on, the value of having an optional stim add-on stack is on the rise. And Performance Lab Stim certainly fits that bill with its simple, refined “Caffeine 2.0” pill formula design. Pairing its caffeine with potent, patented forms of L-theanine, L-tyrosine, and B-vitamins, Performance Lab Stim supercharges brainpower without the accompanying jitters and crash, providing a cleaner caffeine rush than your typical caffeine pill stack.
Taken alone or together with other nootropic supplements Performance Lab Stim is a highly valuable brain booster for both athletes and academics, gamers and workers, and everyone in between.
If you have the financial freedom to try both Qualia Nootropic Energy and Performance Lab Stim, I say go for it. Money aside, you won’t be disappointed by either Qualia Nootropic Energy or Performance Stim. Both are clean, powerful energy boosters that work quickly and effectively without any of the brain-draining side effects associated with caffeine, sugar, or any other unhealthy ingredients typically found in your traditional energy drink.
However, all things considered, Performance Lab Stim is the superior energy booster of the two. Even if we ignore the “price” factor (Stim is drastically more cost efficient than Qualia Nootropic Energy), Performance Lab Stim still outperforms Qualia Nootropic Energy as a nootropic supplement, as you may more easily stack Stim with other nootropic supplements than Qualia Nootropic Energy.
Both are impressive, high quality stacks. Yet, either way you spin it, Performance Lab Stim is the smarter energy booster here.
Performance Lab Stim > Qualia Nootropic Energy
Buy Performance Lab Stim here.